“I love my family. It’s sorta like music, and my family would be the remix.”
Thirteen-year-old Merrick smiles when he talks about his family. The son of two moms, Nancy and Laura, he talks excitedly about all the things he loves doing with his family in Minnesota—taking family trips, singing songs, and enjoying the summer. Together, the three of them paint a very happy picture, but their family-building journey has had its pitfalls and obstacles.
In a new emotionally moving short film from Family Equality’s Ric Swezey Memorial Fund Storytelling series, Nancy and Laura share their heart-wrenching adoption story. For years, Nancy and Laura wanted to build their family but it often felt like it was an impossible dream.
“We ran into so many roadblocks, one barrier after another, and all we wanted to do was be parents,” explained Nancy.
But when a family in Texas reached out specifically looking for a same-sex couple to adopt a child from their family, Nancy and Laura found hope. As soon as they found out that Merrick’s first mother was going into labor, they hopped on a plane. Upon arriving at the hospital, they were embraced by the family—but their mistreatment by the hospital and staff soured what would have otherwise been a joyous occasion.
“They put the baby in the room with [the first mother], they shamed her, and tried to convince her to keep the baby,” Nancy shared.
One woman from the hospital literally charged at Nancy and Laura, yelling at them to get out—telling them that they didn’t belong there.
“It felt like at any moment someone was going to come and take him,” Laura tearfully explained.
That fear led Nancy to return back to Texas for the adoption hearing, to ensure her son would be safe. Alone in an unfamiliar courtroom, Nancy struggled to feel anything but heartbreak when she heard the judge say the otherwise joyous words, “This child is yours.”
Families across the country like Nancy and Laura face the same legal obstacles and bigotry on their family-building journey. And because of the vulnerability of families like Nancy, Laura, and Merrick, who so bravely share their story, Family Equality can continue spreading awareness of the challenges these families face.